Daily Briefing: Johor prepares to stop buying treated water from Singapore; QuuBe to boost Southeast Asia expansion using blockchain

And Temasek joins US-based payments management platform’s US$88m-funding round.

From Channel News Asia:

Malaysia's Water, Land and Natural Resources Ministry is in the process of preparing a full study on efforts to ensure that Johor is no longer dependent on treated water from Singapore, said its minister Xavier Jayakumar on Wednesday.

The study, which will be conducted together with the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) as well as Johor's state government, will look at the impact, framework, suggestions and negotiations to do with the state's dependency on the basic resource.

“We want Johor to not be dependent and we don't want them to take (treated) water from Singapore anymore. At the same time, this study will ensure that water in Johor is sufficient for the future.

“I will present the results of this study to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in a month’s time,” said Dr Xavier.

Singapore pays 3 sen per thousand gallons of raw water and sells treated water back to Johor at 50 sen per thousand gallons.

Read more here.

From Bloomberg:

In the last decade, Ku Young Bae—a serial entrepreneur and South Korean transplant—has built Singapore’s biggest e-commerce company and fended off giant rivals like Alibaba, Amazon and Tencent.

Now he’s keen to expand beyond his home base into Southeast Asia. To do that, and to compete with his cash-rich rivals, he’s hatched an audacious plan to unleash the efficiencies of blockchain technology on e-commerce. In January, his Qoo10 (pronounced “Q-ten”) online mall started a separate marketplace called QuuBe using the distributed ledger technology best known for making bitcoin possible.

Ku says blockchain makes it cheaper to run an online marketplace which lets him remove the fees he currently charges merchants to sell products on the site.

Read more here.

From DealStreet Asia:

Singapore-based investment company Temasek has participated in a US$88m-funding round raised by US-based payments management platform, according to an announcement.

The round was led by New York-based global investment firm Franklin Templeton and joined by others such as Mastercard, workplace payment products supplier FLEETCOR, Fidelity Investments Canada ULC and other US-based investment firms such as Kayne Anderson Rudnick and Cross Creek. claims to have over 3 million members on its platform, with more than US$60b in payments managed annually. It has partnered with accounting software providers such as NetSuite, Intacct, QuickBooks and Xero and Temasek is a repeat investor in The Singapore-based firm had participated in’s $100-million round with JP Morgan Chase in 2017.

Read more here.

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